Movie Review VII
Master of the Flying Guillotine
The rebellious martial arts teacher One Armed Boxer is stalked by the blind Fung Sheng Wu Chi, master of the flying guillotine and agent the state. The blind killer stalks the region, indiscriminately killing one armed men (all of whom have strange growths under their shirts about the size of arm), until the plot segues into a martial arts tournament full of fiendishly odd combatants. After several of them are killed, the hunt continues with the One Armed Boxer hiding on the other side of a cave while his foes come to him one by one. After cleverly blunting the flying guillotine, the One Armed Boxer lures the blind master to a booby-trapped coffin shop for a climactic final battle.
If that sounds like a cheesy 70s kung-fu flick, you’re hearing correctly. This one is the king. It has all the cheesy cruft [-] of the genre: whiff-smack sound effects with every martial arts move, flying by wire, bad hair prosthetics. The plot is completely random [-], almost as if they came up with the fight scenes first and then tried to figure out a way to put them all together. The effects are pathetic [-]. Cut shots are rampant and obvious. Some of the sequencing is totally off. In one scene the master throws two fire bombs, they cut to the crowd, and when they cut back to the master throwing the third fire bomb the effects of the first two have completely disappeared. That said, the movie does have some cool stuff in it. My favorite is the Indian martial artist who can elongate his arms to 10 feet [+]. The fight were the One Armed Boxer traps the barefoot Thai fighter in a metal floored room with a fire under it is classic [+]. And I must say that even though the 70s synthesizer music sounds pretty lame to my post-millennial ears, it is actually used to decent effect [+] (apparently this was aided by using it all without copyright agreements). And it is just so totally campy, in a way that just cannot be faked, it deserves an oomph factor of 2.
As a side note, man is that DVD messed up. The print or prints that contributed to it are in really bad shape, and I don’t think the Film Foundation is in any rush to restore this one. Some of the shots literally look like they were done with a strobe light. Better yet, the film randomly switches between dubbed and subtitled versions.
Final Rating: 6/10
Best Quote: It’s easier to kill a coward than to find a way to insult him.